Financial action and advice
If you are worried about making ends meet this winter, or know someone that is, there are a range of specialist services there to advise and help. In this section you’ll find more information about these services, and details about how to get in touch with them.
Financial action and advice
Worried about money?
In Derbyshire we want everyone to have access to appropriate financial services and products so they can manage their money effectively.
In this section you can find out about banking, where to get help if you have debts or are struggling to make ends meet.
Where to get help
In Derbyshire there are many organisations that can help people who are struggling. It’s important not to face your problems alone and seek advice as soon as possible. Waiting until the bailiffs are knocking on your door limits your options, so get some advice before things get to that stage.
Contact Financial Action and Advice Derbyshire
Facing eviction, repossession or homelessness?
You must act quickly. Contact Citizens Advice for help. Visit: www.derbyshirecab.org.uk
Derbyshire Law Centre (01246 550674) and Direct Help and Advice (01332 287850) can also provide free legal advice and representation on a range of matters including housing and employment issues.
Debt and borrowing money
There are lots of organisations offering help and advice on debt. You do not have to pay for advice.
For free, impartial advice contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau: www.derbyshirecab.org.uk or call National Debt Line on 0808 808 4000 or Step Change debt charity on 0800 138 1111.
More information on debt and managing your money is available on the Derbyshire County Council website www.derbyshire.gov.uk/welfarerights
If you find yourself without money for food or daily essentials, there are emergency support arrangements in place in Derbyshire. Food Banks provide food parcels to last your family for 3 days and signpost you to other relevant help. Referrals are made by GPs and other agencies.
For more information visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/foodbanks
Say no to payday loans
Unless you are really good with money, payday loans have a habit of spiralling out of control.
What you may not expect when you take out your first loan is that the payday loan company will keep offering you more money. They will make it sound so simple and so tempting and it can be hard to say no and they will automatically take their money straight out of your bank account – whether you can afford it or not. It’s easy to see how you can end up in trouble.
There are alternatives:
- If you are borrowing money to pay a bill or your rent get in touch with the people you owe money to – or seek advice on dealing with your debts
- Join a community bank (formerly known as credit unions) – they can help and save and lend you money at reasonable rate when you need it.
Choosing the right bank account for you is important. There are Current Accounts, Basic Bank Accounts and Packaged Accounts. It’s important to look at what will best fit your needs and compare the features and any charges before deciding which account to choose. For more help ring the Money Advice Service on 0300 500 5000 or visit their website.
Do you know about Basic Bank Accounts? They are aimed at giving everyone access to bank accounts. They are basic, no frills accounts, that have no overdraft, but you can still set up standing orders and direct debits. If you are not able to get a standard current account, or you would prefer an account with no overdraft look into basic bank accounts. They are available from most high street banks. For information contact your local bank or the money advice service website
Problems with loan sharks
A loan shark lends money illegally. Loan sharks often:
- Offer you a cash loan but do not give you any paperwork
- Don’t tell you when you will finish paying
- Increase the amount you owe even if you are making regular payments
- Take your bank card as security on the loan
- Threaten or use violence to get money from you.
If you’ve borrowed money from a loan shark you haven’t broken the law, you can report them in confidence: Tel: 0300 555 2222
Text: ‘loan shark’ & details to: 07860 022116.
Savings and affordable loans
- Do you need/want a safe and easy place to save?
- Do you need a low cost loan?
- Would you prefer to deal with a local trusted provider?
- Community banks are financial cooperatives owned and controlled by the members. They are not for private profit, and are like a community bank. They operate to help promote savings, provide credit at reasonable rates, and other financial services for its members.
- Mutual and ethical savings community banks offer a range of savings accounts. You save as little or as much as you can afford. They operate on values and principles of a cooperative.
- Affordable loans – community banks offer loan products suited to your individual needs at affordable rates at a maximum of 42.6% APR. Loans where the person saves first may be lower. The interest is charged only on the reducing balance. There are no set up fees and no charges for early repayments.
- Run by you, for you – As a community bank member you are in control of your own finances and have a say in how your community bank is run. Community banks all operate within a ‘common bond’ which might either be the common bond of an area, or of an employer or an association.
- Putting you first – community banks serve you ‘the member’ by listening to your needs and developing the products and services that you want.
- Safety – community banks are regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and are part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme just like banks and building societies, so your money is protected.
Your local community banks – formerly known as credit unions:
Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire
Credit Union (cover the whole county) – Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm
4 – 6 Soresby Street
Tel: 01246 278833
2 Shires Credit Union (cover Bolsover) Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm and Saturday from 9:30am to 12noon
Queen’s Buildings (Annex) Potter Street,
Tel: 01909 500575
Derbyshire Community Bank (cover the whole county) – Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 3:30pm
38 Corn Market, Derby,
Tel: 01332 348144
Text: 07860 025 023
More information about managing your money and debt
APR includes both the interest rate and any charges such as arrangement fees. APR varies from lender to lender. Generally the lower the APR, the better it is for you. So always check it and compare.
Learning more about dealing with money
If you are interested in learning more about money issues there is lots of free help available. There are short courses and sessions run by various different services, including Derbyshire Adult and Community Education Service.
There is a lot of help on websites including the Money Advice Service.
Tel: 0800 138 7777 – Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
There is more information at Financial Action and Advice Derbyshire.
Or email: email@example.com
The Citizens Advice has offices across Derbyshire. They provide free, expert help and assistance across a broad range of issues, including benefits, debt, fuel, housing and employment issues.
How to contact
Most GP practices in the county have a weekly CA advice session. Contact reception at your practice to make an appointment. Otherwise, you can get advice from your local CA by phoning the following numbers:
Chesterfield: 01246 209164
High Peak, Derbyshire Dales, Amber Valley and Erewash: Tel: 0808 278 7954
North East Derbyshire and Bolsover: Tel: 0300 4568437
South Derbyshire: Tel: 0300 330 9002
Or visit Citizens Advice in Derbyshire for each bureau’s individual website.
Thousands of people in Derbyshire are missing out on benefits they are entitled to.
The Welfare Rights Service can help with general advice and may be able to take on any representation you need. They can give advice over the phone about which welfare benefits to claim and how to claim them. They’ll also send out claim forms and give advice on how to challenge decisions by the benefits authorities. Please note that you usually have one month in which to challenge the decision.
They can assist with benefits appeals and represent Derbyshire claimants at tribunal hearings.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org call 01629 531535 or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
If you need urgent help following a crisis or disaster the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund could support you.
The fund is there to help people during an emergency or crisis situation and to support people to continue to live independently or cope with exceptional pressure when they have no money to help their situation.
The Derbyshire Discretionary Fund can support people to resolve their immediate difficulties and also puts them in touch with other support and services, so it’s less likely to happen again.
What are the payments?
There are two types of payment:
- Exceptional Pressure Grant
- Emergency Cash Payment.
An Exceptional Pressure Grant can help people who are on one of the following:
- Income support
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit where the applicant would be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support under the previous benefit system
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance where household income is the same as income-based level
- Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance where household income is the same as income-based level
- Be likely to qualify for one of those benefits when establishing themselves in the community
- Have been on one of these benefits within the last 3 months before making the application, and the reason they are no longer on benefit is that they have started employment
Emergency Cash Payment
An Emergency Cash Payment can help people when they cannot pay for food, heating or emergency travel which could lead to an immediate and serious risk to the health and safety of the person or their family. This could be because of a disaster or crisis.
How are applications made?
All applications are made via the phone to the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund team. Contact: Tel: 01629 533399 from 10am to 3pm.
The team will take some personal information during the call and then a financial assessor will phone back to discuss the application in more detail.
The Legion, is a British charity providing financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependants.
Advice line: 0808 802 80 80 available from 8am to 8pm.
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills or top up your pre- payment meter, you must contact your energy supplier as soon as possible. Energy suppliers can arrange debt payment plans which can be spread over a 2 year period to ease the cost. Fuel debts often appear due to inaccurate meter readings so, if possible, submit regular readings to your supplier or ask them to come and take regular readings if you do not know how to or are unable read your meter.
Q. I’m worried that my health condition will get worse if I get my fuel cut off in the winter, what can I do?
A. Suppliers have agreed not to knowingly disconnect anyone who is considered vulnerable or:
• is a pensioner
• has a long time illness
• is disabled
• has severe financial problems
• has young children living in their home.
Put yourself on the Priority Service Register by calling Western Power Distribution on: 0800 096 3080 Email: email@example.com
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can speak to them on the number above using Text Relay by dialling 18001 first using your textphone.
Contact National Debtline
National Debtline is a free, confidential, debt advice service for people in England, Wales and Scotland, run by the charity the Money Advice Trust.
Tel: 0808 808 4000
If you are really struggling financially, you may be eligible for help towards paying off your fuel related debts by contacting one of the following grant schemes:
The British Gas Energy Trust is open to non-British Gas customers; you do not have to be a customer of British Gas to make a claim. It offers payments for household bills, energy arrears or essential appliances.
Tel: 0121 348 7797
EDF: Payments for household bills/ energy arrears or essential appliances.
Tel: 01733 421021
Npower: Provides financial assistance to individuals and organisations.
Tel: 01733 421021
The Ovo Energy Fund is a debt support fund created to help its customers reduce their arrears on gas and electricity bills. Tel: 01752 507703
Scottish Power Hardship Fund Tel: 0808 800 0128
You can also contact the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund who may also be able to assist with emergency fuel debt payment.